Pacman CE Xbox 360 Review

They don’t come much older than Pacman, he’s been around a long time now but he’s never really gone anywhere. From his original arcade debut, and the introduction of his better half ‘Ms Pacman’, not much was done with the franchise, you got some dodgy spin offs, and then Pacman tried following Mario as a platform hero, which never really worked out, but now he’s back, doing what he does best, running mazes and eating ghosts, and maybe that’s what he should have stuck to.

Back To Basics

Championship Edition takes Pacman back to his roots, mazes, ghosts, power pills, you know the routine, and if you don’t, welcome to planet Earth. Everything from the good old days is there, just not how you remember it. As usual you’re playing in a maze, and those four ghosts you love to hate are there with you, there’s pills, and power pills, everything appears as usual, but once you get going you start to see how things have changed. First thing you’ll notice is that you’re now playing against the clock, whatever game mode you play you’ll find a clock counting down at the top of the screen. What’s new isn’t so much the clock though, but the fact that you can actually finish the game, if you can hold on to at least one life before the timer counts down you can finish one of the game modes on offer. That’s just the start of the differences though, next thing you’ll notice is the mazes, they’re not as they first appear, this time round the mazes act as two separate mazes, as you’ll see the first time you finish half a maze.

All About Symmetry

As the mazes are split down the middle it adds symmetry to the game, eat all the dots on one side of the maze and a fruit appears, used to be a random occurrence, but now it’s a key part of the game. Clearing one half of a maze triggers your fruit, but it’s not till you eat that fruit that the other side of the maze regenerates. It’s not just a simple refill of dots though, new maze layouts, more, or less power pills, basically a whole new layout with each fruit eaten. It all makes for a seamless experience, there are no new mazes as such, just constantly regenerating combinations for you to eat up. It doesn’t just make for a seamless experience though, one maze flowing on to the next really adds to the addictive nature of the game, you don’t get a moments let up. Pile on top some interesting variations to the all new basic game and you’ve got a fair bit of a challenge waiting for you. Although there’s only seven different game modes you’ll find enough variety to keep you playing for a while, If there’s one thing this new addition to the series has in common with it’s venerable ancestor is it’s addictiveness, it may be simple, but it’ll hold your attention for a good while.

Infuriatingly Addictive

I may not have described things as best as they could be, but this version of the game really does have the flavour of the original, and it capitalizes on it. The old joke about popping pills to repetitive music really does spring to mind when playing the latest in the Pacman series. Everything has been expanded on where necessary, graphics are that bit more elaborate, background music is more than out of tune bleeps, it’s nothing special, but it fit’s the game perfectly. It’s like Pacman followed a different evolutionary path, forget all those dodgy platform games, this is the natural evolution of the original game. It takes every aspect of the arcade original and refines it, it’s hard to believe after all this time, but it looks like the franchise has finally found the direction it should have taken originally.

Natural Evolution

This is the Pacman we’ve all been waiting for, video games evolve the same way as everything else, they take the next step, be it right or wrong, and after too long taking the wrong steps Pacman has finally found the path it should have been following all these years. It’s doing what it does best, we don’t need platforms, we don’t need 3D, just put the big yellow blob in a maze with some ghosts, that’s what Pacman is all about.

An old dog can learn new tricks, and win best in show.

7 out of 10
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